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SBCTC Policy Manual
Chapter 3: Student Services

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This chapter contains policies related to the admission, enrollment, and operations of support services and student-related activities in the state's community and technical college system. Links are provided in the respective policy statements to RCWs, WACs, procedures and guidelines that are relative to that particular policy.

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
SBCTC Resolution 02-09-16 Board approved Policy Manual 09/19/2002

Community and technical colleges shall design student services functions appropriate to the college’s populations and employ qualified student services staff to provide services in the following areas:

  1. Developmental and maintenance: Academic advising, career and student employment, counseling, financial aid, veteran and military family services, dual credit programs, health and wellness programs, housing assistance, and testing.
  2. Administrative: Admissions, discipline, records, and registration.
  3. Support: Child care, multicultural and diversity programs, and services for students with disabilities.
  4. Programs and activities: Co-curricular and extracurricular programs, student government, student publications, athletics, and student center.
  5. Teaching: Orientation programs, study skills, job search skills, career and life planning courses, and international student programs.

3.20.10 Admission to a community or technical college

The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges:

  1. Requires college districts to maintain an open door policy in admitting students (see RCW 28B.50.090 (3)(b)).
  2. Sets minimum standards for governing the admission of students to community or technical colleges, including the requirement that all international students must demonstrate proficiency in both written and oral English as a prerequisite for enrollment in college-level courses (see RCW 28B.50.090 (7)(d); WAC 131-12-010).
  3. Expects colleges to have a written policy on admitting students under 18 who are not admitted under the provisions of Running Start or another local enrollment options program (see WAC 131-12-010 (1)(e)).
  4. Requires colleges to establish rules and procedures that provide for intercampus and inter-college enrollment of students and for interdistrict registration of students (see RCW 28B.50.095WAC 131-12-040; WAC 131-12-041).
  5. Requires colleges to honor reciprocal course level placements for a student who qualifies for a specific level of math, English, or reading either through course completion of local placement determination (see Placement Reciprocity Policy under Policy Resource below).
  6. Requires a student’s residency status determination at the time of initial admission by any college for tuition and fee purposes. However, for students enrolled exclusively in “ungraded”, contract, and/or student funded courses, residency determination for the purpose of assessing tuition and fees is prohibited (see WAC 131-12-020; RCW 28B.15.012 through RCW 28B.15.014; Community College Tuition Waivers and Residency).
  7. Provide for the recovery of fees for improper resident classification consistent with the rules adopted by the Washington Student Achievement Council (see RCW 28B.15.015).
  8. Requires the use of common student identifiers such that once a student has enrolled at any community or technical college he or she retains the same student identification upon transfer to any college district (see RCW 28B.50.090(7)(f)).
  9. Requires colleges to establish a culturally appropriate outreach program that may include communities of color, students with disabilities, neurodiverse communities, and low-income communities and be designed to assist potential students to understand college opportunities available to them (see RCW 28.50.920).

3.20.20 Equitable access to higher education: Racial equity and economic mobility

The State Board believes Washington’s community and technical colleges serve an important role in ensuring equitable access to higher education, and increasing economic and social mobility for students of color. The Board supports this belief through an earmarked allocation to colleges in providing holistic student supports for students of color throughout their college experience. In addition, the Board believes the colleges should:

  1. Be leaders in improving access and completion rates for students of color in high-wage, high-demand programs of study.
  2. Implement Guided Pathways reforms with an equity-minded approach by disaggregating data and examining disparate student outcomes.
  3. Continuously review and examine policies and practices with a racial equity lens to improve success rates for students, faculty, and staff of color.
  4. Incorporate institutional equity goals into the college’s strategic plan. Institutional goals should be consistent with statewide goals (see Community and Technical College Student Access and Success by Race/Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Status Progress Reports).

3.20.30 Access for students with disabilities

  1. Community and technical colleges shall provide students with disabilities the appropriate core service(s) to ensure equal access to higher education. Reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities shall be provided for all aspects of college life, including nonacademic programs and services. The State Board supports the colleges to provide services and reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities through an earmarked allocation (see RCW 28B.10.910 through RCW 28B.10.918).
  2. Washington State community and technical colleges shall provide appropriate, effective, and integrated access to technology for student employees, and external community members. This policy applies to the procurement, development, and implementation of instructional, administrative, or communications technologies and content.  Further, the policy applies to both current and emerging technologies, including both hardware and software, in use or being evaluated for purchase or adoption throughout the community and technical college system. The policy encompasses, but is not limited to, college websites, learning management tools, student information systems, training materials, instructional materials, and assessment tools.

3.20.40 Access for Gender Equality

Community and technical colleges shall not discriminate in admission enrollment, financial aid, student employment, recreational activities, including athletics, student services, and/or any other program or service offered to all students on the basis of gender (see RCW 28B.110.030 and RCW 28B.110.040).

3.20.45 Preferred Name

For some students and employees, a chosen or preferred name may be an important component of their identity. Therefore, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is committed to fostering an environment of inclusiveness and supporting students and employees preferred form of self-identification.  Students may choose to identify themselves within the campus community using a preferred first name that differs from their official/legal name. A student’s preferred name will appear instead of the student’s official/legal name in select college documents such as class rosters (see Preferred Name Policy under Policy Resources below).

3.20.50 Student Rights and Responsibilities

Community and technical colleges are required to:

  1. Adopt and publish rules establishing student rights and responsibilities, provide for students involvement in such activity, and file all such rules with the state director (see WAC 131-12-050, WAC 131-12-060, RCW 28B.50.140 (13)).
  2. Adopt rules for hazing violations and sanctions imposed on individuals or groups (see RCW 28B.10.900 through RCW 28B.10.902).
  3. Ensure confidentiality of student records (see Chapter 5.70.20 Confidentiality of Student Records and Data).
  4. Develop a plan to maintain and administer opioid overdose reversal medication in and around campus residence hall housing with at least one-hundred residents (see RCW 28B.10.577).
  5. Develop policies to accommodate student absences to allow students to take holidays for reasons of faith or conscience or for organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization, so that students' grades are not adversely impacted by the absences (see RCW 28B.137.010).
  6. Provide tuition and services and activities fees refunds or cancellations per established instructional day timelines as established in law (see RCW 28B.15.605).
  7. Provide options or protections for enrolled students who are ordered to state or federal active military service to allow course withdrawal with full refund, be given a grade of incomplete and be allowed to complete within the institution incomplete course policy, or continue to complete the course for full credit (see RCW 28B.10.270, RCW 28B.15.625).
  8. Not use an initial admissions application that requests information about the criminal history of the applicant (see RCW 28B.160.020).
  9. Allow a student or employee to be assigned a different identification number for a valid change request to protect a student’s or employee’s personal safety, identity safety, and religious or cultural objections (see Identification Change Number Request Policy under Policy Resources below).
  10. Provide financial aid application due dates and information on whether or not financial aid will be awarded on a rolling basis to their admitted students at the time of acceptance (see RCW 28B.92.005).
  11. Disclose to their resident students on the tuition billing statement, the full cost of instruction, the amount collected from student tuition and fees, and the difference between the amounts for the full cost of instruction and the student tuition and fees (see RCW 28B.15.0681(1)(a)(b)(c)).
  12. Provide to all resident students either on the tuition billing statement or via a link to a web site detailing the following information, the sources of all institutional revenue received during the prior academic or fiscal year, the uses of tuition revenue collected during the prior academic or fiscal year by program category as determined by the office of financial management; and accountability and performance data (see RCW 28B.15.0681(5)(a)(b)(c)).
  13. Provide to an enrolled student who has applied for student financial aid a notification detailing information about the student education loans the educational institution has certified (see RCW 28B.10.285).
  14. Make menstrual hygiene products available at no cost in all gender-neutral bathrooms and bathrooms designated for female students (see RCW 28B.92.030).
  15. Provide a program, either existing or new, on diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism to students and create an evaluation for program participants that will capture a participant’s level of satisfaction with the program and how they will apply the program to their education (see RCW 28B.10).

Policy resources

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
Passage of ESSSB 5194 Culturally appropriate student outreach 07/25/2021
Passage of ESSSB 5227 Diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism training 07/25/2021
Passage of ESHB 1273 Menstrual hygiene products in schools 07/25/2021
Passage of SB 6358 Added financial aid information requirement 02/18/2021
Passage of SSB 5166 Reasonable accommodation for religious holidays 07/28/2019
Passage of SSB 5380 Opioid overdose reversal medication 07/28/2019
Passage of ESSSB 6029 Student loan bill of rights 06/07/2018
Passage of SB 6582 Criminal history of admission applicants prohibition 06/07/2018
WACTC Approval Preferred Name Policy adopted 05/05/2017
WACTC Approval Identification number change request adopted 11/01/2016
SBCTC Resolution 16-03-08 Improving access to technology 03/24/2016
Passage of SB 6358 Financial aid application process disclosure 06/12/2014
Passage of SB 5343 Students ordered to military service 07/28/2013
WSSSC/IC Approval Course placement reciprocity agreement 06/01/2013
Passage of SHB 1430, amended 2012 Gender equity and discrimination prohibited 07/01/2012
Passage of ESSHB 1795 Tuition billing statement requirements 08/24/2011
Passage of SB 5463 Common student identifiers 07/22/2011
SBCTC Resolution 09-05-05 State Board removed earmark for Disability Accommodation Pool 07/01/2009
Passage of SSSB 5806 Higher education cost disclosure 07/22/2007

Each college maintains an educational record for each student who is, or has been, enrolled.

3.30.10 FERPA Directory Information

Student rights to their educational record are covered and afforded by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA). FERPA directory information is information contained within a student’s education record that, if disclosed, would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy. Directory information may be released without the student’s explicit consent unless a student requests the ability to block their directory information from disclosure. The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges governs directory information provided by each college as expressly authorized by each system college chancellor and president (see FERPA Directory Information under Policy Resources below).

Policy resources

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
WACTC approval Global FERPA Directory Information 06/05/2020

The State Board authorizes community and technical colleges to:

  1. Employ qualified persons to administer its student financial aid programs in accordance with federal/state regulations and institutional policies;
  2. Write policies and procedures to ensure consistency in and compliance with the implementation of regulations for federal and state financial aid programs;
  3. Deposit a minimum of three and one-half percent of revenues collected from tuition and services and activities fees in an institutional financial aid fund (see RCW 28B.15.820 and WAC 131-36).

3.40.10 Financial aid guidelines

Each academic year, State Board staff will develop and distribute guidelines to help colleges administer:

  1. Worker Retraining Financial Aid and Training Completion Aid Financial assistance to help dislocated and unemployed workers, including displaced homemakers to gain and upgrade skills for employment (see RCW 28C.040).
  2. Work-based Learning Tuition Assistance and WorkFirst Work-Study Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low income working parents/students to help in wage and skill progression (see RCW 74.08A.250).
  3. Opportunity Grant Financial assistance to help low-income adults reach the educational tipping point — and beyond — in high-wage, high-demand careers. Reaching the tipping point allows the least prepared individuals to complete 45 credits, receive a credential, and increase job skills and knowledge through career pathways (see RCW 28B.50.271, RCW 28B.50.272, RCW 28B.50.273).
  4. Basic Food and Education Training (BFET) — Available to students who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program assistance (SNAP) (sometimes referred to as “basic food” or "food stamps") but are not receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (see RCW 74.04.535).
  5. Early Achievers Grant — A student financial aid program to help employed child care providers and early learning educators complete certificates and associate degrees in early childhood education (see RCW 43.216.085).
  6. Student Emergency Assistance Grant (SEAG) — An emergency assistance grant program to provide students with demonstrated financial need monetary aid to assist those experiencing unforeseen emergencies or situations that affect the student's ability to attend classes (see RCW 28B.50.295).
  7. Homeless and Foster Care Students Program — A pilot program for higher education institutions to provide assistance to homeless students and students who were in foster care (see RCW 28B.50.916).

3.40.20 Ability to Benefit (ATB)

The Washington College Grant and the Federal Pell Grant can be accessed through state and federally approved options for eligibility per the Ability to Benefit provision of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and provides grants for students without a high school credential whom test at a certain level, earn six college credits successfully, or are co-enrolled in a title-IV eligible I-BEST and Washington’s High School Plus (HS+) program (see Ability to Benefit Issue Brief under “Policy Resource” below). 

Policy resources

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
Passage of SHB 1166 Homeless and Foster Youth Housing 07/25/2021
Passage of SSHB 2893 Student Emergency Assistance Grant established 07/28/2019
Passage of SSHB 1723 Early Achievers Grant established 07/28/2013
Passage of ESSHB 2782 Security Lifeline established 03/29/2010
Passage of HB 1096 Opportunity Grant program established 07/22/2007

3.50.10 Services and activities fee Student Programs

The State Board sets the maximum student and activities fee colleges can collect from students. Community and technical colleges are:

  1. Authorized to establish services and activities fees, not to exceed the maximum amount set by the State Board.
  2. Authorized to collect services and activities fees for the express purpose of funding student activities and programs consistent with the needs of their institution (see RCW 28B.15.041; Services and Activities Fee Guidance under Policy Resources below).
  3. Authorized to establish an activities fee committee, with students representing a majority of the members, for recommending to the administration and the Board of Trustees a yearly budget for use of the services and activities fees (see RCW 28B.15.045 (3)).
  4. Required to post services and activities fees expenditure information for the prior academic year on the college or university web site so that the information is clearly visible and easily accessible to students and the public (see RCW 28B.15.045).

3.50.20 Intercollegiate athletic programs

Intercollegiate athletics shall be available to foster athletic competition in an environment that supports equitable opportunities for student-athletes consistent with educational objectives of our colleges (see Northwest Athletic Conference under “Policy Resources” below).

The State Board requires that:

  1. District boards of trustees adopt rules to assure that intercollegiate athletic programs afford opportunities for participation to the interests of each college's student population and local community as possible.
  2. Intercollegiate athletics will be conducted according to guidelines and policy as established by the designated college athletic association.
  3. Colleges will strive to accomplish the state’s gender equity goals (see RCW 28B.15.455).
  4. Gender equity be reported directly to the U.S. Department of Education (see Equity in Athletics Data Analysis under “Policy Resources” below).
  5. Colleges adhere to the athletic scholarship and tuition waiver policies (see Athletic Waivers; Northwest Athletic Conference under “Policy Resources” below)
  6. District boards of trustees must approve a plan to prevent future deficits and post the financial statements of the program for the three prior fiscal years if the intercollegiate athletic program experienced an operating deficit in the previous year (see RCW 28B.15.120).

Policy resources

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
Passage of SSB 6493 Intercollegiate athletic deficit planning and reporting  06/07/2018
Passage of SHB 2352 Posting Student and Activities Fees 06/07/2012
Athletic Equity Athletic equity reporting transition to U.S. Department of Ed 08/24/2011
Passage of E2SSB 5182 Repeals intercollegiate athletics compliance reports to the governor and Legislature. 08/24/2011
SBCTC Resolution 06-06-22 Grant-in-Aid eligible student athletes waiver resolution 06/22/2006

Community and technical colleges must provide information to students, prospective students, parents and the general public on:

  1. Student right to know and campus security (see Public Law 101-542).
  2. Accreditation status (see NWCCU Accreditation Handbook).
  3. State support for higher education students including information on the amount of state subsidy and financial aid received (see RCW 28B.15.0681).
  4. The abuses of alcohol in particular and the illnesses consequent from alcohol in general for community colleges with state-owned residence halls, the availability of student housing where all use of liquor is prohibited, and a process for reporting violations and complaints of illegal liquor and drug use (see RCW 28B.10.295, RCW 28B.10.575).
  5. Methods of transmission of AIDS and the AIDS virus (see RCW 28B.50.205).
  6. State financial aid programs labeled an “opportunity pathway” (see RCW 28B.76.500).
  7. Policies and procedures for handling complaints of sexual harassment (see RCW 28B.110.030 (8)).
  8. Courses that can be fulfilled by taking the AP, IB, or CI dual credit exams. Each college must post the qualifying exam score and college course equivalencies on the campus website (see RCW 28B.10.054).
  9. Transferable college-level courses and course lists for one-year academic completion and transferable degrees. Lists must be published in admission materials and easily accessible on the college’s website (see RCW 28B.50.785).
  10. Voter registration. Each college must have an active prompt on its course registration website that will link the student to the secretary of state’s voter registration website (see RCW 29A.08.310).
  11. Washington Quality Awards Standards. Each college must post its most recent full accreditation report on its website (see RCW 43.17.390).
  12. Expenditure of services and activities (S&A) fees. Each college must annually post services and activities fees expenditure information for the prior academic year on the college website (see RCW 28B.15.045(11)).
  13. Options for course placement: Colleges are required to post all the available options for course placement on their website and in their admissions materials (see RCW 28B.50.090).
  14. Financial aid counseling curriculum must be provided to institutions of higher education with state need grant recipients. The curriculum must be available via a website (see RCW 28B.76.502).
  15. Foster Youth: Each college shall include on their applications for admission or on their registration materials a question asking whether the applicant has been in foster care together with an explanation that financial and support services may be available (see RCW 28B.117.040).
  16. Veterans: Colleges must include on their applications for admission an opportunity to advise the institution that they are veterans who may need assistance (see RCW 28B.15.910).
  17. Open Education Resources and Textbook Costs: Colleges must provide the cost of any required textbook or other course material, whether a course uses open educational resources, or whether a course uses low-cost required materials defined as equal to fifty dollars or less during the time of registration by displaying the information in the online course description, a link that connects to the bookstore’s website, or other website where students can search and view (see RCW 28B.50.789).
  18. The Higher Education Act (HEA) prohibiting an institution of higher education from engaging in a substantial misrepresentation of the nature of its educational program, its financial charges, or the employability of its graduates and must have a process to review and appropriately act on complaints concerning the institution, including enforcing applicable state laws (see 34 CFR 600.9(a)(1), State Authorization, and Consumer Protection under Policy Resources below).
  19. Campus and student directory information must be made available to military recruiting representatives providing students information on educational and career opportunities if the college provides the same access to other persons or groups (see RCW 28B.10.360).

Policy resources

Policy history

Action Description Revision Date
34 CFR 600.9(a)(1), State Authorization Consumer protection 07/01/2017
Passage of ESSHB 1375 Course materials cost 07/23/2017
Passage of SSB 5518 Campus sexual violence 07/24/2015
Passage of SB 5712 Posting course placement information 07/28/2013
Passage of SHB 2352  Posting service and activity fee expenditures 06/07/2012
Passage of SHB 6121 Providing financial aid counseling curriculum 06/07/2012
Passage of HB 2254 and ESHB 1131 Identifying former Foster Youth for student aid information 07/01/2012
Passage of SHB 2259 (repealed) Reporting crime statistics 06/07/2012
Passage of E2SHB 1795 Posting transferable college-level courses 08/24/2011
Passage of E2SHB 1795 State support of higher education 08/24/2011
Passage of E2SHB 1808  Posting AP and IB score equivalencies on college websites 07/22/2011
Passage of SSB 5270 Posting link to Secretary of State's voter registration website 07/26/2009
Passage of E2SHB 2021 College tuition billing statements and "Opportunity Pathway" labeling requirements 08/01/2009
Passage of ESSHB 1244 Posting accreditation report 05/19/2009
Passage of HB 2233 Identifying veterans for student aid information 06/07/2006

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Last Modified: 1/30/24, 4:07 PM

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